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Identity Exchange

posted by:Angela Long // 12:49 PM // June 21, 2006 // General

Listening to CBC Radio this afternoon, I heard an interesting interview with a performance artist named Nancy Nisbet, whose name I remembered from an article I pulled on RFID technology. She is interested in ideas about how RFIDs affect our personal identity. In order to further her research, she had not one, but two RFIDs implanted into her body (in her hands), which actually gives her two separate digital identites. This is something I hadn't thought about before...what if we implant more than one RFID into our bodies? How does this affect our identity and our privacy?

She is currently undertaking a North American performance tour that aims to engage the public in a discussion about identity issues. Check out her website here.

You can also check out Wired Magazine's article about her RFID implants, which includes a cool video of the implantation procedure.


I've researched some of the projects that Nisbet is involved in, especially the Exchange project. She has some interesting uses for RFIDS and I would encourage anyone to check out her web site http://www.finearts.ubc.ca/nisbet/. but I would extend a caution about "multiple digital personalities" achieved through the use of RFID implants.

Although there might be some interesting artistic statements to be made by implanting RFIDS, there is also one potentially problemmatic realitiy that accompanies the multiple personalities. Namely that every ID chip that is implanted provides a greater degree of certainty to any potential "tracker" or "eavesdropper" that they have located a particular individual. In the surveillance paradigm, multiple IDs associated with a single entity act to improve the probability and accuracy of authentication.

You might say the multiple digital personalities collapse into a single, highly authenticatable individual!

Posted by: Jason at June 21, 2006 02:20 PM

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